Celebrating the history and archaeology of Brown University and Providence, Rhode Island

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Week 12: Data Entry

Theo Koda

The weather has finally turned, and for the past few weeks we have been processing our finds from the Moses Brown Site in the carriage house. We began by carefully cleaning the artifacts with a wet or dry toothbrush depending on the material we were dealing with. We did this over the course of two class periods while simultaneously noting any interesting details that were uncovered during the cleaning process. Throughout the process it was critical that the finds remained with their respective lots and contexts in order to facilitate accurate analysis in the coming weeks.

Today, 11/28/16, we started with a clean slate. Everything was brushed, dried, and placed into a fresh, clearly labeled context bag. The time was ripe for data entry—a tedious, but crucial step. Each of us brought our laptops and we inputted the data into a shared Google spreadsheet. We recorded the site name, date of excavation, excavators’ initials, recorder’s initials, trench, context, lot, total number of artifacts in the bag, number of artifacts of a specific type, any special finds, any joins found between finds, and any general notes.


The class looks over the newly inputted data for any mistakes.

Each person had their own bag and inputted their own data. Great care was taken to prevent an accidental mix-up with a neighbor’s bag—an incident that would have ultimately skewed our data and would impair the accuracy of our analysis. Overall, the digitization of our finds did not take long. However, after everything was inputted several errors were discovered. Some bags were mislabeled with missing dates, excavators, and incorrect trench numbers. These mistakes were resolved through a collaborative effort. We each examined our excavation diaries, and together were able to locate the information that would otherwise have been lost. This experience provided a perfect example of why we recorded our daily experiences on an archaeological excavation.

Once the data was recorded the spreadsheet was organized into two sections—one for each trench. Each section progressed from the earliest date of excavation to the latest. This enabled us to see how occurrences of specific types of finds varied based on depth in each trench. It will be a great help as we start to analyze and interpret our data. In addition the digitization of this data will enable any future researchers to quickly access and examine our finds. Although the process may not have been riveting, its importance is undeniable.

Processing Finds and Learning About Ceramics

Sean Briody ’19

We began our second day of processing finds in the lab – though this time, we had electricity! (Thank you, Brown facilities department.) We were able to make significant progress cleaning our objects, and finished cleaning all with about 40 minutes left in the class. After a thorough cleaning, we were able to connect many of the pieces as parts of a whole. For instance, a piece of plastic in one trench had broken off at some point from a piece of plastic we had recovered in the other trench and we were able to match them together. The same could be said for two pieces of ceramic found in the same trench.

In addition, there was a great abundance of “nice rocks,” (in the words of one student) because at the time of digging it was uncertain whether or not they were important. They don’t appear to be significant to our digs. However, there were many objects that were cleaned in order to determine what they were. I dry-brushed what I originally thought was just a rock, but after cleaning it was revealed to be a metal bolt; heavily covered in rust and dirt. Cleaning also uncovered potential cut marks on a rib bone, in addition to revealing that some pieces of slate that had been dug up were most likely roofing shingles.

Following the final cleaning, our class welcomed grad student Jessica Nelson as our special guest. She gave an insightful and informative presentation on the different types of ceramics throughout history, and what they look like once excavated. She also brought some examples of each different type from her own collections and from the Anthropology Department. It was extraordinarily helpful to examine them up close.

All in all, it was a successful day, and next week we will be able to further assess and draw our final conclusions regarding the digs.

Drawing Lesson: Week 10

Alok Panray

The dig progresses and we do too. Today, Monday 11/7 aside from digging and screening dirt and taking notes we also started to learn to make archaeological sketches. This involved a lot of planning and measuring.

Danielle and I sat ourselves in the MB4 trench with the grueling task of sketching the complex mosaic of rocks into a 20cm x 20cm makeshift grid sketched with ruler and pencil into a copybook. I was measuring. She was sketching. 

We laid out two measuring tapes spanning out the north side and the west side of the trench. The idea was to give the easting (number of cm away from the west edge of the trench) and the southing (number of cm away from the north end of the trench). This allowed us to use a Cartesian coordinate system to communicate the position of everything in our trench with each other.

I was to give her all the important points that she would need to sketch the contents of the trench. “Important” refers to the minimum number of points that would allow the sketcher to form a polygon on the paper that roughly corresponds to the shapes of the features in the trench which include rocks and bricks. The information was conveyed in the form of Cartesian coordinates. I would find a point, tell her which point it was and give the coordinates to it. This would allow her to place a point on the axes and eventually play connect-the-dots to fill in a 2D layout of what we saw in the trench.

The experience was overall instructive as a glimpse into what field archaeology really looks like in a professional setting. I would imagine that on many sites, the emphasis on sketching is a lot stronger than it was in our project. Hence it is a very important skill to practice and develop. The most important thing I take away from the lesson is that consistency is extremely important. The fact that we did not switch roles meant that we did keep some level of consistency on how the points were measured and how they were sketched.

Halloween Digging

Lena Milton

Today, we had a spooky time excavating at the Moses Brown site on October 31, or Halloween. Although we didn’t find any skeletons, we still had a very productive day, and the weather was perfect for digging. Both the trenches were a little messy today, with soil moved around the surface, considering it rained for most of the day yesterday. In both trenches, we have started to reach a new, yellower soil that has more clay in it. Trench MB4, which had Sean, Alok and Sasha working in it today, was trying to reach a new context (Context 4) by digging down to the clay soil in all areas of the trench. Similarly, trench MB3 was also trying to uncover the yellow soil more uniformly.


Before talking about today’s excavation, I’ll give a brief history of excavations in both trenches so far. In MB4, we dug down 10 cm. and then started context 2, where almost immediately we hit a soil change when the dirt got very gravelly. Then, we created a new context, context 3, which is where we began today. MB3 went down two contexts and then created context 3 when the dirt became mottled yellow and dark brown (2.5Y 7/8 and 10YR 3/2 respectively, according to the Munsell Soil Color Chart).

I worked in MB3 today, where so far we have uncovered a few larger rocks on the north side of the trench. We began by simply scraping a top layer of dirt off to get rid of any soil changes due to the rain. After that, we spent most of the class period uncovering yellow dirt. We found a large nail, about 8 cm long, where we think the corner of the house should be if our GPR-based (Ground penetrating radar) trench placement is correct, as well as two more large nails along the north wall. (See nails next to slate in the picture below). We’ve also found a lot of brick pieces in that area as well. After a while, it became apparent that the northern side of the trench is very clearly dark brown dirt and rocky, while the rest of the trench showed the yellow dirt. It’s unclear what this division is coming from, but it did prompt us to close out context 3 in order to create two new ones, context 4 and 5, the northern side with brown dirt, and the rest of the trench with yellow dirt.


In the picture below, you can see five of the artifacts found today in MB3. The thin reddish piece in the upper left is brick, as is the squarish piece to the right. To the right of that is a piece of coal. Under that is some sort of rock that we think may be asphalt, but are unsure, and last, the bottom left is a large piece of flat slate.


I’m very curious to uncover more of these large rocks, and to figure out why we may be seeing this split between the dark and light dirt in MB3. All in all, it was a productive day, and as we have very little time left to dig, we’re hoping to continue getting deeper next week.


Drawing Stratigraphy

Time to draw some stratigraphy! This week in the field, we were yet again blessed with outstanding weather that allowed us to stay warm and keep the trenches well lit for our drawing purposes. We originally intended to work for half the period then wash more artifacts from our dig but the light allowed us to work for the entire time! I was in trench 1 with both Lucas and Emma, and we had the difficult task of drawing the stratigraphy of our somewhat confusing cross section.

Essentially, a stratigraphy drawing is an illustration of the differences in soil that accumulate over time. As time passes, soil changes or new sediment is introduced, leaving layers of differing content. These differences can range from changes in color, texture, or material found, to more complex indicators like pollen or chemical molecules that might need the assistance of devices. We can do a lot with this stratigraphic data, but primarily it is hoped that we can use it to both date what we found within the layers and also make inferences to what might have been happening during that period of time.

Unlike Trench 2, we were tasked with a complicated, but interesting, soil change matrix. [Editor’s note: a friendly rivalry has developed between the trenches. All assertions herein are the author’s own.] Trench 2 followed the textbook example of appearing like a seven layer cake, with each soil layer being relatively flat and in order. Trench 1’s stratigraphy was less orderly, with rock inclusions and rogue layers abounding throughout.

We started off by first looking at the wall of the trench we were about to draw and picking out the important layers that needed to be rendered on our graphing paper. After deciding on what layers to draw, we used our trowel to mark the layers themselves. After this, we lined up the tape measure along the side of the wall and corresponded each 10 centimeters along the wall to a point along the marked line. All in all, we had 20 points along the 2 meter long wall for each layer. It was actually surprisingly tiring! We had to squat in the trench without hurting the wall while also keeping the measurements accurate. Once we got to the rock inclusions and the strange layer in the middle, we certainly were feeling exhausted!

Trench MB 1 stratigraphy drawing

A drawing of the stratigraphy from Trench MB 1, by Emma, Lucas, and Axel

After corresponding each point along its respective layer, 6 in total, we looked at our drawing, and I realized how I was both impressed by how different the soil can be from layer to layer and also frustrated because this illustration served as a reminder that our trench was difficult to dig in for a reason! I soon came to realize though that this frustration I was feeling was somewhat unwarranted. Of corse we were not able to dig as much as we might have wanted to keep our data as pure as possible, but what was told to me multiple times over the corse of the dig finally started to resonate. These complicate layers have their own stories to tell, and that in itself is exciting! Sure, the ceramic sherds and metal pieces have their place in our digs, but they should not necessarily play a bigger role in our discussions just because they can be washed and held in our hands! I am really interested to see what we can gather from this soil, because to the untrained eye, it might be just dirt, but something tells me that we are going to find out a lot more about earth underneath our feet.

Axel Getz ’18

The Final Week of Digging

This week was our last week digging. Spirits were high and the weather was warm, but everyone was sad for digging to end. Our final passes did not yield any signs of house structures, although there was plenty of evidence for life at the corner of Lloyd and Hope. Because it was the last day, everyone was especially focused at efficiently (and correctly) moving a lot of soil in order to see what was below.

Our digs thus far did not reveal any visible evidence of house structures, so rather than excavate the entire trench we dug sondages in order to go deeper. Sondages are narrow deep trenches within the larger used to evaluate site stratigraphy deeper in the trench. Our sondages were 50 cm wide and went lengthwise north to south in the trenches. The sondages didn’t reveal any new stratigraphic units in the soils. In MB 2, the soil were slightly darker with depth, but were likely part of the same context. MB #1 had a large number of large rocks concentrated in their sondage, which could be archaeologically significant and indicate either a wall or backfill. As it goes with discoveries made on the last day, we may never know.

Axel and Maggie working in MB #1. The concentration of rocks in the MB#1 sondage is seen here

Axel and Maggie working in MB #1. The concentration of rocks in the MB#1 sondage is seen here

Despite no changes in stratigraphy, we did find multiple artifacts in MB #2. These included multiple pieces of white ceramics, as well as glass, slag, and a rusty nail! A lot of the ceramic pieces were small enough to go straight through the sieve, meaning some pieces were probably missed in our excavations. We also must consider the processes that created such intensely worn ceramics. Questions like this are an essential component of archaeological analysis, and were discussed in class. In his book, Excavation, Steve Roskams states that total excavation of a site is impossible, and the best way to fully understand and study a site is through interdisciplinary archaeological study. For our site, I think soil micromorphology has a lot of potential to show us interesting changes in the soils with depth.


Lucas and Julia were excited to find artifacts while sieving!

Lucas and Julia were excited to find artifacts while sieving!

Daylight-savings time meant we finished under the light of a nearby streetlamp. Everyone was sad for the digging to come to an end. This was an awesome experience for learning field archaeology methods. All the wonderful members of the class (instructors especially!) made the dig a positive educational experience.

We will return to the trenches to finalize our stratigraphic sketches of the site and fill in the trenches, but next week we start in the lab and will more closely examine the artifacts we collected. What will they show? Check back soon to find out!


Roskams, Steve. Excavation. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge UP, 2001. 32-33. Print.


Ned Willig ’16

Object Biography: Brown University’s Seal

Emma Byrne ’17

As technology has improved and access to college applications increases, college admission has become more and more selective every year. High school seniors submit their accomplishments and goals to the black box process of admissions in hopes of receiving acceptance from the institutions that have become continually more exclusive and more treasured in the public’s mind. The most selective schools represent themselves as timeless and boast “exceptional undergraduate instruction” and “richly historic” campuses (“About Brown University” 2015). The esteem that elite colleges and universities currently enjoy seems inherent to those attending now, but was actually carefully cultivated over the history of their development. For many, such as Brown University, it is the creation and strict control over images like the seal that have contributed heavily to the expanding spheres of recognition and admiration within which they operate. The function of Brown University’s seal has changed with the evolution of the University’s image and mission, but has always stood to represent Brown’s unified will.

In the Charter of 1764, which outlines the rules and logistics of the College of Rhode Island, later to be known as Brown University, there is mention of a “Publick Seal to use for all Causes, Matters and Affairs” (Catalogue 1911; 32). While this description of the seal seems rather vague in its determination of the seal’s function, it clearly highlights that the seal is to be used to signal official matters, denoted by the capitalization of “Causes, Matters and Affairs”, and that the seal is meant to provide a unifying image of the institution in the public sphere. The Charter also mentions that the College will “confer Degrees by Diplomas, and authenticate them with the Public Seal of the Corporation” (Catalogue 1911; 37). Both of these roles of the seal could be seen as socio-technic and ideo-technic functions as defined by Lewis Binford and discussed by James Deetz in In Small Things Forgotten, An Archaeology of American Life, as the seal takes on a ceremonious role in legitimizing formal proceedings, and socially unifies the College under a single image. The need for a succinct way to represent the College on tangible items such as diplomas could also be considered a technomic function, as it would be logistically difficult for the institution to convey a unified opinion otherwise, particularly as student and faculty numbers grew (Deetz 1977; 91-2).

Despite this proclamation in February of 1764, the first seal of the College was not commissioned until the second annual meeting of the College’s Corporation, which occurred in September of 1765 (Guild 1867; 61). One day before the meeting was held, the College had its first student enrolled, William Rogers, who would remain the only student for the next nine months (Bronson 1914; 35-6). Perhaps prompted by the existence of a student body, Reverend Samuel Stillman ordered the seal to be created (Guild 1867; 61) and for it to display busts of King George III and Queen Charlotte, the current rulers of England, facing each other in profile (Bronson 1914; 35). Encircling the seal is a motto in Latin which reads, “The Seal of the College in the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in America” (Annual Report 1906; 25). The seal was crafted in Boston, was made of silver (Bronson 1914; 520) and cost ten pounds and thirteen shillings, sterling (Annual Report 1906; 25). The choice of image clearly reflected both the College’s, as well as the Colonies,’ allegiance to England at the time. By displaying royalty on the seal, and producing the seal in silver, the College of Rhode Island was deliberately associating itself with an image of prestige and tradition, two ideals the College seems to have hoped to embody.

The first seal continued to be used until 1782, at which point the Revolutionary War had ended and the Colonies were no longer ruled by England (Bronson 1914; 76). This momentous event in American history also signified the need for a new image on the seal of the College of Rhode Island. At the annual meeting of the Corporation in 1782, a committee was appointed to “break the old seal of the College” (Guild 1867; 62). The breaking of the first seal seemed to be a symbolic way of rejecting Great Britain’s rule and also a functional way to ensure it would never be used again, either in error or as a deliberate statement. The same committee created to break the old seal was also ordered to commission a new seal, but this process was evidently delayed as a new committee was appointed at the following annual Corporation meeting to design a seal for the College (Guild 1867; 62). Unfortunately, due to the Revolutionary War, the College of Rhode Island was not well-financed, and so in President Manning’s letter to William Rogers in 1784, in which he asks Rogers to order the seal, he states, “The Treasurer has put a Note of 20 Dollars in my Hands, which I herewith inclose….as you know the Poverty of the College we rely on you to obtain [the seal] on the best Terms” (Bronson 1914; 520). The poor quality of this seal, which can be seen in its imprint, reflects the lack of finances of the College at the time (Bronson 1914; 521). The word Colony was changed to Republic in the motto on the border (Annual Report 1906; 26) to maintain accurate political wording and the image on the new seal was supposed to represent the Temple of Truth and had a telescope and book to symbolize existing knowledge and new discoveries (Simmons 2014). This image could be interpreted as the College changing focus from political allegiance to focusing on intellect and learning as intended, without losing the ideology of prestige and ritual. The functions the second seal seal served appear to be essentially the same as those previously assigned to the first seal, and it remains in Brown University’s possession today (Annual Report 1906; 26) as a valuable symbol of the University’s history and development.


The First Seal (Simmons 2014)

The First Seal (Simmons 2014)

Unlike the Revolutionary War, the renaming of the College to Brown University in 1804 did not provoke a prompt change in the University seal. The third and current seal was not commissioned until President Wayland realized in 1833 that in the process of renaming the University, updating the seal had been overlooked (Bronson 1914; 521). In 1834, the current seal was adopted and depicts a shield with four open, blank books separated into four quadrants by a red cross. Above the shield is a sun “rising amid clouds” and below is a banner with the motto “In Deo Speramus,” translated to “In God We Hope”. Bordering the seal are the words “Sigillum Universitatis Brunensis” (Guild 1867; 62). This image seems to keep with the second seal in emphasizing academia with the four books, which are rumored to represent Harvard, Yale, Cambridge and Oxford, four previously founded institutions of education and prestige (Kaplan 2012). This third seal, however, does incorporate a religious element with the motto “In God We Hope” and the red cross which is supposed to be the cross of St. George (Mitchell). The religious imagery is unusual, since Brown had from the start been less religiously rigid than other institutions founded in the same era. In the Charter of 1764, religious tests for members of the Faculty were rejected, and the governing board expressly made room for multiple denominations (Bronson 1914; 30-1). The sun could also be seen as an optimistic symbol for the future of the University, rising out of a cloudy and difficult past reminiscent of the financial troubles of the Revolutionary War.

The Second Seal (Simmons 2014)

The Second Seal (Simmons 2014)

The use of the third seal is much easier to trace, as it has been in official use for much longer than the first two seals, and continues to be used today. In the Catalogue of Brown University 1911-1912, when the Charter of 1764 discusses that the president and faculty of the school will be exempt from taxes, there is an update stating that in 1863 the General Assembly of the State of Rhode Island voted that members of the University should not be exempt for more than ten thousand dollars each and that the University’s corporation agreed to this. At the bottom of the passage, it states, “the Secretary of this Corporation is hereby instructed to file a copy of this vote under the seal of the Corporation and certified by himself in the Office of the Secretary of State, as proof of the consent of this Corporation thereto” (Catalogue 1911; 38). The language in this text proves that the seal continued to be used as an authoritative symbol that signaled official proceedings and a standardized visual of the University’s will.

The Third Seal (Simmons 2014)

The Third Seal (Simmons 2014)

In 1901, amidst a heavy building phase for the University, the wooden fence surrounding the Univeristy was replaced with iron and brick with a large gate at the College Street entrance to campus, named the Van Wickle Gates (Bronson 1914; 470). Atop the gates, the seal proudly fulfills its public duty of representing Brown University to the outside world, here in a more physical manifestation than most. At this point, the seal did not prove a prominence the University hoped others would associate it with, but rather reminded the public of the prestige the University had already attained. Much of the symbolism of the seal, as a valuable and meaningful image, comes from its singularization as Kopytoff defines it (Kopytoff 1986; 73). Since the seal is only allowed to be used to represent Brown University, it becomes singular and allows Brown to “assert [its power] symbolically precisely by insisting on its right to singularize” the seal (Kopytoff 1986; 73). To create an image and then prevent anyone else from using it is to assert authority over others and to construct a sense of exclusivity. The seal was, and continues to be, a reminder to those at Brown University of their privilege and good fortune for being able to attend the selective institution, and presents Brown University as desirable and powerful to the rest of the world.

In recent years, Brown University has taken advantage of new technology and heavily increased its digital presence. With this, it has been able to seriously increase the number of places where the official coat of arms from the seal can be seen. The coat of arms is featured on every page of the website, and a simplified version can even be seen as a little logo next to the website’s tab in a web browser. In addition, all online documents, emails and announcements from the university have the coat of arms visible somewhere.

Student groups on campus have also taken to repurposing the Brown University coat of arms for their own organizations. One example of this is the Brown Veg Society, which in 2014 made their logo the coat of arms with the top two books replaced with pictures of a chicken and a cow. In this way, many student organizations have used parts of the seal to associate themselves with the University, but have modified it visually to more accurately embody the purpose of their group. This new function of the seal represents an increased “sphere of exchange” for the image, as the University is allowing parts of the seal to be used in more contexts that are not directly related to University administration (Kopytoff 1986; 71). Despite the increased circulation of the coat of arms as a decoration, the University retains strict regulations on the seal, as the entire seal is reserved for “legal authentication of diplomas and other documents” (Mitchell). In this way, Brown University has allowed for the awareness of their image to spread via the coat of arms, but has maintained singularity for the seal itself, as the entire image operates within a very limited sphere of exchange with the continued purpose of authenticating documents.


Brown Veg Society Logo, 2014 (Simmons 2014)

Brown Veg Society Logo, 2014 (Simmons 2014)


The Brown University seal has undergone several physical transformations that are important markers of turning points in the University’s history and self-view. Some of the most important changes to the seal, however, are not physical, but rather functional. The image of the seal at all points in history has been tied to prestige and tradition, but the transition from having the seal only viewed by select members of the community on official documents to the widespread visibility atop buildings, on banners, and in digital media, has done more to change how people both within and outside the Brown community interact with the official image than any visual alterations. While the University controls the seal and how it may be used, it is important to consider the seal as an active object that instills feelings such as pride, anxiety, and disappointment in the people who encounter it under different circumstances. These emotions are what constitute the power of Brown University, and what permit the University to have authority as a governing body and formidable presence in society.



Works Cited


“About Brown University.” Brown University. Brown University, 2015. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.

Bronson, Walter C. The History of Brown University, 1714-1914. Providence: U, 1914. 18 Aug. 2009. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.

Brown University. Annual Report of the President to the Corporation of Brown University. N.p.: Hammond, Angell, 1906. 28 Apr. 2010. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.

Brown University. Catalogue of the Officers and Students of Brown University. N.p.: H. H. Brown, Printer, 1911. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.

Deetz, James. In Small Things Forgotten: The Archaeology of Early American Life. Garden City, NY: Anchor P., 1977. 7 July 2010. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.

Guild, Reuben Aldridge. History of Brown University, with Illustrative Documents. Providence, RI: Providence, Printers, 1867. 8 Jan. 2007. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.

Kaplan, Alexander. “Ra Ra Brunonia: The Seal — BlogDailyHerald.” Web log post. BlogDailyHerald. The Brown Daily Herald, 07 Mar. 2012. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.

Kopytoff, Igor. Teaching Collection (Anthropology / ANTH3022 / C25). N.p.: n.p., 1986. 64-91. Print.

Mitchell, Martha. “Seal.” Encyclopedia Brunoniana. Brown University Library, n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.

Simmons, William, comp. In Deo Speramus. 7 Mar. 2014. Exhibit. The Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Providence.


Emma Byrne ’17

Week 5 Excavations

The fifth week of our excavation brought beautiful weather: sunny and 54 degrees Fahrenheit. We tried to take advantage of the sun, as the following week brought Daylight Savings Time and consequently darkness for the second half of our class. It was also our second-to-last excavation day so we wanted to be as productive as possible.

Emma Blog 1

L to R: Axel, Lucas and Maggie diligently sifting soil from Trench 1

I was digging in Trench 2 this week with Julia, Ned and Charlotte. Since the week before Trench 2 had closed Context 2, we decided to get as close to closing Context 3 by the end of the session as possible. Since Trench 1 found a soil change when they began digging Context 3, we decided to all begin by digging on the northern side of the trench and proceed with caution. Unless we found a soil change around ten centimeters below the top of Context 3, we would define Context 3 as an arbitrary layer, used for locating our artifact finds stratigraphically.

Emma Blog 2

L to R: Emma, Andy, Julia and Char taking notes and discussing how to proceed in Trench 2

It was cramped having four people digging on the same side of the trench, but we pretty quickly realized we were not finding the same soil change that was occurring in Trench 1. As a result, we defined Context 3 as an arbitrary layer and continued to remove soil as quickly as possible while maintaining a watchful eye for potential finds. As we dug, we noticed many small rocks and a few large rocks, though they did not appear to have any structural significance. Still, we dug around the larger ones carefully and did not remove them unless they were naturally dislodged from the soil as we dug deeper. We also found one piece of ceramic!

Emma Blog 3

Ned keeping a careful watch over Trench 2

The soil in Context 3 was mainly sandy loam, with some gray clay-like inclusions and darker soil in areas. By the end of the session we still could not find a clear soil change, so we decided to level the floor of the trench as much as possible, and take an “in progress” closing picture, in case we decided to continue Context 3 at the next session. It was definitely sad knowing it would be our last full digging session, but I am excited to process our finds and try to interpret our results in the lab.

Emma Blog 4

Closing picture for Context 3, Trench 2

Emma Byrne ’17

Community Archaeology Day

On a beautiful, sunny Saturday morning, our class and fellow archaeologist students from the graduate school gathered for Community Archeology Day! With the extra hands, we were excited to make a good deal of progress in both of our trenches. Both trenches were working on context two, and we were able to identify a similar sienna-colored, sandy soil change in each trench, that would begin context three. It was very interesting to talk to the graduate students about our project and their projects and interests. We also learned a lot about their digging techniques and strategies while working in the trenches with them.

This weekend was family weekend for both Brown and the Moses Brown school, so we had quite a few families stop by to check out what we were doing and see some of our finds. We all took turns describing our project and our goals to the visitors, and showing them some of our finds. Some of the visitors even got down in the trenches with us to help dig!

Our friend Leo learning to dig! He really rocked the Shark hat!

Our friend Leo learning to dig! He really rocked the Shark hat!

We uncovered a few exciting artifacts during our dig. Trench 1 noticed a fair bit of coal and charcoal inclusions while digging. In trench 2, we found about 6 nails primarily in the middle to east side of the trench. We also found quite a bit of slate in this part of the trench.  Additionally, we found a piece of a pipe stem, and judging by size of the hole through the stem, we deduced that it was from the 19th century – right around the time period our house was first inhabited! We also found a clay marble, which is pictured below next to a modern day marble that one of our visitors happened to have in his pocket!

Clay marble found in trench (left) next to modern day marble (right)

Clay marble found in trench (left) next to modern day marble (right)

It was awesome to have so many people from the archeology department to come work with us on Community Archeology Day. Talking to our visitors and fellow archeologists about our project got everyone really excited and more invested. It was also great to make a lot of progress in our trenches and to have some neat artifacts to show for it! I am looking forward to see what we find next, especially as we approach context 3 and 4! I am having a lot of fun working together with my class mates, and we are all learning so much.


Karl and Matt, two JIAAW grad studets who came by to help us out

Julia Schoenewald’17